What Your Neighbor Gives

Hoo-ha today over a New York Times story about FundRace.org, a site that takes public information on campaign donations from the Federal Election Commission and makes it easy to see who’s donating how much to which candidates — and where the donors live. The concern is privacy, whether it’s a good idea to map the donations to names and addresses right in your neighborhood. Here’s the thing: All the information has been publicly available online — for instance, at the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org — and that’s a central feature of the campaign laws to keep things above board. All FundRace does is to eliminate a couple steps online searchers have to make on the FEC and other sites. I think it’s a great idea, even if it allows me to discover the embarrassing fact that three-fourths of the Brekkes who show up in the database have contributed cash to the wrong guy.

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